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Poster: sraileus Date: Jan 19, 2011 10:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Jerry and Phil on KMPX, April 1967...or is it?

So, there's a tape that circulates of Jerry and Phil playing records (with Tom Donahue) on KMPX, and it's traditionally been dated "last week of April, 1967."

That date's always seemed suspect to me because I remembered that one of the commercials featured a tiny snippet from the Beatles' "A Day In The Life" (Paul singing "woke up, fell out of bed"). That song, of course, is from SGT. PEPPER, which did not see release until June 1. Because of this, I figured that either the tape was seriously mis-dated, or else came from a later re-broadcast.

Today, I sat down to listen to it and try to solve the mystery once and for all.

First of all, the Dead's first album has clearly been released, and that has a well-accepted release date of March 17 (although release dates in the 1960s and 1970s were FAR more fluid than they are today). The second clue is Garcia saying: "Yeah, we'll be going to New York." According to McNally, the band went to New York on May 31, 1967....just one day before PEPPER was theoretically released.

Clearly, those clues tell us that the tape dates from between March 17 and May 30. So, it now appeared that the tape probably wasn't seriously misdated, since it clearly pre-dated late May. But what about the inclusion of "A Day In The Life"? I now had to see if the tape we have was possibly from a re-broadcast later in the year.

The commercial featuring the snippet eventually turned up, and it turns out that it was an ad for the Avalon Ballroom, promoting their upcoming concert "this weekend" featuring the Chambers Brothers and Iron Butterfly. Thankfully, finding out most concert dates is a piece of cake, and I soon found out that the Chambers Brothers and Iron Butterfly played the Avalon....that's right, on April 28 and 29, 1967 (Friday and Saturday).

Sheesh. So, the tape clearly is dated correctly, and comes from between April 24 and 28, 1967.

But what that means is that whoever put together the commercial for the Avalon (someone named "Bob McClay," according to Donahue) had access to at least part of "A Day In The Life" no later than the last week of April 1967.

Later in the show, a listener calls in and tells Phil that a Charles Ives piece that Phil just played sounds "just like the new Beatles record." No-one mentions the name of that new record (they probably didn't know it!), but in listening to the Ives recording, it's clear that the comparison is being made to "A Day In The Life."

So, how did one of the most famous Beatles songs of all time get circulated around San Francisco almost two months before it was officially released? My primary suspect is none other than James Paul McCartney.

On April 3, 1967, Paul flew to Los Angeles from London, and then took Frank Sinatra's Lear Jet to San Francisco on April 4, where he actually hung out with the Airplane. On April 5, it was off to Denver.

So, I don't think it's any coincidence whatsoever that a Beatle is in San Francisco on April 4, and by late April the whole Bay Area has a sneak preview of the new album. Undoubtedly he slipped an acetate to someone (someone in the Airplane?), and within days the track spread all over the city like wildfire. Paul McCartney: Stealth Marketer. Who knew?

So, I didn't learn a whole lot about the Dead by closely examining this tape, other than confirming to myself that it is, indeed, from the last week of April 1967.

What I did learn was a little something about the Beatles! Right at the cusp of the "Summer of Love," at least one of them wasn't loathe to show off the goods ahead of time, probably quite against the instincts of Capitol Records!

So, there it is folks...a little more sleuthing courtesy of your friendly local Deadhead Detective.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jan 19, 2011 11:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and Phil on KMPX, April 1967...or is it?

Definitely - there's no doubt McCartney was proud of the Sgt Peppers tracks and playing acetates to every musician he could. I know on his April '67 trip, he played the Sgt Pepper acetate to the Jefferson Airplane and to Brian Wilson. (I don't know, though, technically if they could copy the acetate, except by taping it - I'm not sure he brought multiple copies to give away!) David Crosby has a story of visiting the Beatles as well, and they played Day in the Life for him. They might have given him (and other friends) an acetate as well, so I can see how Peppers songs could've been circulating among SF musicians for months before the actual release. That said, the call-in listener who compares the Ives piece to the "new Beatles record" might have been referring to the recently-released Strawberry Fields single, which also had odd orchestration...
This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-01-19 19:43:35

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Poster: sraileus Date: Jan 19, 2011 11:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and Phil on KMPX, April 1967...or is it?

Regardless of how the song began circulating around, it's clear that it shot through the underground quite rapidly, as this post makes clear:

According to that, the song was played in Boston on April 19. And for what it's worth, I really don't buy the story of how "Capitol sent it to us"! Knowing how Capitol worked in the 1960s, that's just not their style. It's much more likely to be the work of McCartney, or possibly Derek Taylor who was well-connected in Los Angeles at the time.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jan 19, 2011 11:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and Phil on KMPX, April 1967...or is it? Doesn't look like you can stream it: "Note 1/20/2006: the files will not derive into MP3/Ogg's - there's something wrong with the original wave files preventing this, so this show cannot be streamed in the current condition. Sorry!" Interesting selection of music though Edit: the player doesn't work but you can use the link in the lefthand box and it works.
This post was modified by elbow1126 on 2011-01-19 19:36:28